British tourists visiting Spain will now have to self-isolate for two weeks upon their return to the UK, raising questions over refunds and sick pay.
The quarantine measure, introduced on Saturday with four hours’ notice, includes anybody from the UK’s four nations returning from mainland Spain and the country’s Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.
Sky News looks at what travellers should do if they are going to Spain or are in Spain already, and whether you will be covered by statutory sick pay during quarantine.
What should you do if you have a Spanish holiday booked?
The Foreign Office (FCO) is advising against all non-essential travel to mainland Spain, but not to the islands – although the quarantine applies from everywhere in the country.
Abta, the UK’s travel trade association, has advised customers due to travel to the country imminently to contact their travel provider and for those with future bookings to keep checking the travel company or airlines’ websites.
Britons travelling to mainland Spain should be able to get a refund or credit note from their travel company as most insurers will not provide cover if you go.
Those going to the islands will most likely be charged normal cancellation charges because the FCO is not advising against travel there, and holidaymakers should check their travel insurance to see if they can make a claim, Abta said.
Package holidays to the islands may be able to be refunded, depending on the operator, or you can transfer the holiday to another person.
Holiday operator TUI has cancelled all planned holidays to mainland Spain up to and including 9 August, but all those going to the Balearic and Canary Islands can still travel as planned from Monday.
All TUI customers due to travel to all areas of Spain until then are able to cancel or amend their holidays and will receive a full refund or the option to rebook.
Are the airlines still flying to Spain?
British Airways is still operating flights so will not be offering refunds if you cancel because of the quarantine.
EasyJet will continue to run full schedules and customers no longer wishing to travel can transfer their flights without a fee or receive a voucher.
WizzAir is continuing to operate flights “for the time being” but could reschedule them and if they do cancel flights passengers can rebook for free with 120% of the fare in credit, or get a full refund.
Jet2 flights are also continuing as normal, with the company saying it only flies to destinations in the Canary and Balearic Islands – not covered under the FCO’s travel advice – so usual terms and conditions apply.
Ryanair will continue to fly between Spain and the UK and will not reduce the number of flights.
What should you do if you are already on holiday in Spain?
For those on TUI holidays, managing director Andrew Flintham said Britons already in Spain will be able to return on their intended flight home but will have to quarantine.
BA, easyJet, WizzAir and Jet2 are not planning to cancel flights but passengers should keep an eye on their websites for changes as fewer flights may be running.
Will you be eligible for the government’s coronavirus sick pay during your two weeks in self-isolation?
People in the UK who have to self-isolate because they have COVID-19 symptoms, or someone they have been in touch with has, are eligible for statutory sick pay.
However, the law states those who are only self-isolating because they have returned to the UK from a country not exempt from quarantine, do not qualify.
Speaking to Sky News, health minister Helen Whately urged people to work from home when they return from Spain and asked employers to “be supportive”.